Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com's weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!
Two great artists unite: At the request of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, award-winning film composer John Williams has created arrangements for solo violin and orchestra of some of his best and most popular movie themes. The album includes 12 arrangements, featuring music from the Star Wars series such as "Luke and Leia," "Yoda's Theme," "Across the Stars" and "Rey's Theme"; as well as "Hedwig's Theme" from Harry Potter; and music from Schindler's List, Memoirs of a Geisha, Dracula, Cinderella Liberty and more. "There is only one John Williams," Mutter said. "What he writes is just extraordinary. Every time I go to one of his films and there is a violin or cello, I think, I would like to play that! And now I have his wonderful translations of all these iconic themes." BELOW: Listen to this! Quite an arrangement "Hedwig's Theme" from Harry Potter, and Mutter lays down those demonic licks that Williams included in the orchestra part.
This album includes all three of Johannes Brahms Sonatas for Violin and Piano, as well as Clara Schumann's "Three Romances," compositions which Schumann played with Joseph Joachim during her lifetime. BELOW: Highlights from Brahms Sonatas:
Terry Riley turns 85 on June 24, 2020, and this is part of the Kronos Quartet's celebration. "Sun Rings" was a 2002 collaboration between the quartet and composer, which began with a call from NASA to Kronos Quartet’s manager. The twenty-fifth anniversary of the Voyager 1 space probe’s launch was coming, and the agency wondered if Kronos would be able to use the "space sounds" that Voyager 1 and 2, as well as other spacecraft, had sent back to Earth in its performances. A meeting was quickly arranged between Kronos’ artistic director, founder, and violinist David Harrington and University of Iowa physics professor Don Gurnett, who had developed the plasma wave instruments that had received these sounds. After listening to Gurnett’s collection of favorite "space sounds," Harrington said, "I instantly knew Terry should be the composer to bring them into our work." BELOW: The Kronos Quartet performs "Beebopterismo," from Terry Riley's "Sun Rings."
Classically trained jazz violinist Mathias Lévy performs original compositions on the 1909 Pierre Jean Henri Hel violin once played by French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli, accompanied by bassist Jean-Philippe Viret and cellist Sébastien Giniaux. "By working on my arrangements of Grappelli’s music, we landed on the group’s particular sound," Lévy said. "We deliberated together, we addressed many questions about our intentions, and we acquired genuine trust in each other." The music is inspired by an eclectic mix of sources. "I have the utopian idea of creating music that emerges all by itself, outside of any categorization," Lévy said. Liner notes contain a short history of Grappelli's violin. BELOW: Mathias Levy performs "Nuage en solo" on the violin once played by Stephane Grappelli, on loan from the Philharmonie de Paris's Museum of Music.
German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser and Irish pianist Alasdair Beatson present a moving portrait of the Mendelssohn family with this recording of pieces by the siblings Felix and Fanny. Once composed for the popular Sunday Sessions at the Berlin Mendelssohn family house, these works fit into the typically nineteenth-century tradition of domestic music-making, albeit at the highest thinkable level. Beatson plays an 1837 Erard fortepiano, identical to the instrument that belonged to the Mendelssohn household when these pieces were composed. BELOW: Johannes Moser talks about this recording, with musical excerpts.
If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.
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